Nigeria has called for synergy among security agencies to address the menace of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in the country.
Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, made the call Wednesday in Abuja, at a two-day training of security agencies on “Prevention and Management of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in Nigeria”, organised by a non-governmental organisation, Cleen Foundation.
Represented by Zakari Ningi, Assistant Commandant-General, Training and Manpower Development, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Dambazau said that the Federal Government was committed toward addressing SGBV in the country.
He said “it behoves on security agencies to work together, as no agency can achieve that alone.”
The minister, who said that the primary goal of any government was to ensure the security and well-being of citizens, added that “no any meaningful development can take place if the citizens, particularly women, children and the less privilege are exposed to violence.
“This is important particularly now that our country is facing security threats of faceless insurgency and terrorism in the North East and some parts of the country.
“Therefore this programme would not have come at a better time than now because it was an opportunity for stakeholders to come together, discuss, share knowledge and experiences on how best to tackle challenges.”
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Aisha Alhassan, said that government recognised the importance of promoting the rights of women and children against human trafficking, child abuse, child labour, among others.
Alhassan, represented by Funmilayo Abdulkareem, Community Development Officer I, Department of Women and Gender Affairs, said the ministry was always ready to collaborate with any organisation to address the menace.
She said “as you are aware of rising cases of sexual and gender related crimes on daily basis, there is need to protect vulnerable groups, most especially women and children.
“The Protection and management of sexual and gender based violence are the basic human rights that lie at the heart of human development and the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
“At this time in our nation’s history, there is obvious need to protect women and children from these crimes.”
Executive Director Of Clean Foundation, Benson Olugbuo, described gender base violence as the most extreme form of gender inequality that must be addressed.
Olugbuo said that preventing and responding to gender based violence must be recognised as lifesaving activity from the onset of an emergency and as key protection concern.
He said that in Nigeria, SGBV was alarmingly at an all-time high; owing to the added atrocities brought by the insurgency in the North East, the herders-farmers crisis and other security challenges elsewhere in the country.
“These conflicts led to displacements of women and girls, forced and early marriages, kidnapping, physical, mental or sexual slavery in the hands of non-state armed groups and sadly sometimes, state security actors.
“Sexual violence is exacerbated during armed conflicts and is sometimes used as a tactic of war and terror on the bodies of women, men, boys and girls.”
He added that the role of security agencies being at the forefront of these conflicts uniquely placed them as key stakeholders in finding lasting solutions to SGBV.
Olugbuo said that the training was to bring together a crop of intellectuals, government agencies and and representatives of the various security agencies and oversight bodies to scale up efforts to curb SGBV.
He added that it was also for stakeholders to gain skills in the prevention and management of SGBV in Nigeria in the modest efforts to improve the country ‘s commitment to the global and national campaign to end SGBV.